Treatment Options for Alcohol Addiction

Alcoholism is a serious issue around the world, and although it doesn’t have the stigma it once did, it is still difficult for many people to get the support they need to break the cycle. It’s an addiction that comes from a mix of emotional, psychological and physical factors. There is a genetic predisposition, and having alcoholics in your family seriously increases the chance that you’ll face those problems down the line. People often self-medicate with alcohol to cover up other issues, such as anxiety or depression. The addiction can develop after years of poor choices, or out of coping with a traumatic event. There is a ton of research on how to combat these problems, but there is no one perfect way to get over the issue. Here are a few of the treatment options for alcohol addiction.

First off, you have to understand that any treatment will be unsuccessful if the individual doesn’t accept that he has an addiction. The state of mind must be aligned with the cause. If he doesn’t think there’s a problem, any treatment will fail. You cannot force this realization on anyone, but there are certainly ways to help bring the situation to a head, so that the addict must face what is happening. In many instances this involves an intervention. The family and friends of the addict come together and confront him with the fallout of his alcohol abuse. They will usually read him letters detailing how his alcohol problems have hurt their relationships, and promise to turn their backs on him if he doesn’t agree to get help. It’s extreme, but alcohol addiction destroys lives. It often takes this type of confrontation to convince the addict to take the first step.

That first step after accepting a problem exists is a detoxification program. With alcohol built up in the system over time, you cannot just quit cold turkey. Most alcoholics that don’t succeed at giving up their addiction fail at this step. A detox that’s not accompanied by proper medical attention can leave the addict suffering from hallucinations, seizures, terrible physical withdrawal known as delirium tremens, and death in the worst of cases. Most people will enter a facility staffed by experienced doctors who can stage the patient down. They are treated with anti-anxiety drugs and monitored to make sure they aren’t in physical trouble.

Once the alcohol is out of the addict’s system it is time to enter the rehabilitation phase. This may begin in an in-patient environment, especially if the addict is in a delicate state of mind. They are usually treated with a mix of medication and counseling. Disulfiram is a popular option, as it breaks the body’s ability to metabolize alcohol. If the addict were to have even a tiny amount of alcohol they would experience blurred vision, vomiting and breathing issues that would immediately get them to stop. There are other drugs, such as naltrexone that can help cut out the physical cravings. It’s all well and good, but the recovering addict must have counseling to help him figure out how to live in a newly-sober way. It may be decades since he has experienced a day without a drink. Counseling can start when the patient is still in the rehabilitation center, and then continue once he is released.

After rehabilitation comes the most difficult part of the process, maintaining sobriety over the long term. The success of this phase isn’t contingent on outside factors, and even the most prestigious¬†Los Angeles rehab center can’t guarantee success. It must be self-motivated, and maintained through diligent attention. Most recovering addicts have a sponsor to help them along, and attend regular group meetings to share their successes and failures. During the maintenance phase an alcoholic often cuts ties with people he had an unhealthy relationship with, mends fences with those he cares about, and focuses on eating better and exercising.

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